Watcombe Win Cements All-SDFL Premier Cup Final
Adapted from Report Provided by Watcombe Wanderers FC
On Friday night, SDFL leaders Watcombe Wanderers travelled to Budleigh Salterton to play undefeated Newtown from the Exeter league in the Devon Premier Cup Semi Final , arguable the biggest game so far in their club’s short history.
The pitch was surprisingly firm considering the recent weather ; this, added to a bobbly surface and high tension, led to a very frantic first half played at an alarmingly high pace. It seemed the ball was too hot to handle and needed kicking as far and high as possible – and as quickly as possible. There were three good chances in this poor first half , two fell to Newtown, both times the same player finding room behind Watcombe’s back-line down the left wing. Scott Corderoy showed why the club rate him as probably the best keeper in the SDFL at present when he stood big and blocked the first fierce shot from 12 yards out, and then again, a short time later, he once again stood up big and forced the flying winger to curl his effort wide of the left-hand post. The third decent chance fell to Watcombe’s Taimak Wilson: he knocked the ball over the head of a Newtown defender and smashed a half-volley straight at the grateful ‘keeper who knocked the ball out for a corner.
HALF TIME: Newtown 0-0 Watcombe
The second half saw some more composed play from both sides, with Watcombe looking slightly the better side now. The dangerous Wilson was a constant threat down the right wing and on 55 mins, after a smart interchange with Sean Finch (pictured), his pace got him in behind the right-back. From 18 yards, when it seemed he could have gone on, Wilson screwed his shot harmlessly wide. Watcombe were starting to take control now and on about 65 mins were awarded a free-kick wide on the right. The ball was swung into the six-yard box and, when it seemed the Newtown ‘keeper had time to throw his hat on it, he instead stood and watched the ball pass him by and hit the upright. The ball then bounced back into a medley of players, Finch swung and missed, as did a defender, before Wilson made contact and smashed it into the roof of the net from five yards.
This setback seemed to lift the Newtown lads more then the Watcombe side, and for the next 15 minutes they were well on top but, despite a flurry of corners and efforts from around the 18 yard box, Corderoy never had a serious save to make. Watcombe made a change and introduced young Ressies’ goal machine Jordan Finch on the left for the hard-working Mike Fieldhouse. Almost immediately this lifted the pressure when a ball was knocked down the left wing and the auburn-haired Finch showed the speed of a sprinter to glide past the defender. But his cross couldn’t match the run and he only picked out the side netting. This route was played out again minutes later and this time the ‘keeper raced out to meet the flying Finch. As Jordan touched the ball away, he appeared to be caught by a sliding arm and went down , eyes turned to the referee, waiting for him to award the pen. But instead, the official pointed to the six-yard box and gave a goal kick. The Watcombe tails were up now and they could sense another goal was there for the taking as the Newtown lads started to tire. The second goal did come, but from an unlikely source. The ball was knocked in from the right-wing and as Sean Finch pressured the defence, one of the centre-back pairing, who it must be said had kept Sean fairly quite for most of the game, rose high and powered his clearing header into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Barely a minute elapsed before veteran midfielder Daniel Harvey picked up the ball 30 yards from goal; seemingly posing no danger, he moved forward a few yards before unleashing a thunderbolt past the hapless Newtown keeper who was left waving to the Watcombe supporters behind his goal as the ball rippled the back of the net.
The final minutes were just a formality now, even with five minutes of injury time, as Watcombe set up an all SDFL final with Brixham AFC (Click here for the Appledore v Brixham report). Remarkably, Watcombe make the final having been drawn away in all of the previous five matches.
Watcombe’s ‘Man of the Match’ must surely have been Taimak Wilson, who ran himself into the ground. Also in the frame was stocky young full-back Kallum Styles, who, starting only his second game of the season, showed he is almost ready to fill the boots of the absent Wayne Bergin.
FULL-TIME: Newtown 0-3 Watcombe
With both SDFL sides making the final, the League is sure to go one better than last year, when Buckland Athletic Reserves lost out 2-1 to Exmouth in the final (see video on the right; you can also watch Watcombe in action in last season’s Herald Cup Final).
ROAD TO THE FINAL
Preliminary Round: Bradworthy 2 – 6 Watcombe Wanderers
Round 1: Shamwickshire Rovers 3 – 6 Watcombe Wanderers
Round 2: Budleigh Salterton 0 – 1 Watcombe Wanderers
Round 3 : Millbridge 2 – 4 Watcombe Wanderers (aet; FT: 2-2)
Quarter-Final: Upton Athletic 1 – 3 Watcombe Wanderers
Semi-Final: Newtown 0 – 3 Brixham AFC (at Budleigh Salterton)